by Diana on 15/08/2014 | Cultural

The Barcelona City Council has ordered closure of 49 cannabis clubs

The Barcelona City Council has ordered the closure of no less than 49 cannabis clubs in the city. The reasons stated in the ordinance are that these clubs were encountering “coexistence issues with other businesses”, and “deficiencies in their way of functioning”.


The Barcelona City Council has ordered the closure of no less than 49 cannabis clubs in the city. The reasons stated in the ordinance are that these clubs were encountering “coexistence issues with other businesses”, and “deficiencies in their way of functioning”.

There are several threats that have occurred in recent months, as the councillors feared that Barcelona would become a place of pilgrimage for cannabis lovers.

Barcelona City Council
Barcelona City Council

Joaquim Forn, First Deputy Mayor and head of Security, has appeared at a press conference together with Benito Granados, the Inspector of Ciutat Vella. Both have stated that “the lack of regulation of these associations can make Barcelona an ideal place for the sale and consumption of cannabis “. According to the City Council, the goal of the closures is to prevent activities that are outside the law.

Three possible situations they may face

The situation in which the affected clubs are differs depending on the case. Thus, 13 associations located in Ciutat Vella neighbourhood and three in Horta Guinardó have been forced to close, because even  though they were indeed experiencing serious deficiencies, they have not ceased their activity. Another seven clubs have voluntarily closed, because they have no other way out, and the 29 clubs remaining have only 48 hours to comply with the obligations required by the city. If they fail to do so, they will be doomed to the same dreaded fate as the others.

Some associations already received a warning last June (article in Spanish) when the Barcelona Council officially banned the opening of more cannabis social clubs in the city. What was done at that time was to deny permission to open this kind of business. At the same time, a detailed regulation was required by both parties to determine what legal framework must be applied to the clubs.

It should be pointed out that, during inspections, factors such as the following have been valued:

  • The association itself has communicated its activity to the City Council beforehand
  • The association managers follow the legislation
  • The club meets the minimum sanitary conditions
  • The club does not have any complaints from the neighbours.

Even if these demands are met, according to First Deputy Mayor Forn, there is a clear loophole. The deputy mayor said that “it is not normal that these clubs can operate simply by issuing  a communication to the City Council”. For the security officer this supposes a legislative gap, therefore more requirements should be demanded  to open a business of this type. For this reason, he reaffirmed the fact that they will carry on with their plan, “in a strong, transverse and coordinated manner.” Forn intended Barcelona to become a role model for other cities that are starting similar processes, but it seems that living in society with this business model recently established is not convincing for everyone.

What about clubs?

Meanwhile, clubs could appeal the decisions of the council and claim against the cessation of their activity, and they insist that such closures are carried out with “a clear legal base” from the City Council. According to law, some associations openly break the rules, by having more members than are legally permitted, by installing a bar inside or even by allowing the entry of minors (it should not be forgotten that, from now on, any member of a cannabis social club in Barcelona should be 21 years old minimum).

Tension in the power circles

At this moment, all fingers point at the Barcelona Mayor, Xavier Trias, since it was he who allowed clubs to be opened only via a simple communication to the City Council and not with a duly obtained license, like other businesses. For this reason, last June, various Catalan political parties decided on a statement announcing that the opening of new cannabis clubs will be impossible at least for a year.

Mayor Xavier Trias
Mayor Xavier Trias

On the other hand, the socialist politician Jaume Collboni has demanded a clear municipal regulation from the Barcelona Council, as said Council holds the powers to do so. He wants them to develop “a policy in which local hours of operation are determined, also the distance between clubs and schools and health centres, the access control, the hygiene and sanitation, as well as the conditions of license.”

And he is not the only one looking for the same thing. Although possibly a surprise to many, chief among these seekers are the representatives of the associations themselves, who are appealing for clear regulation and a coherent legal framework since right now, clubs are somewhat homeless and in no man’s land. The vast majority of them would like to do things in the right way, and have had several meetings with politicians in charge of the matter. Even if they have not yet arrived at an agreement,  no one can deny that many people from associations work hard and perform their activities the best they can, with no other aim than to offer society legal products and services, that often come with demands as fair as any other businesses’.

Sensi Seeds supports and appreciates the efforts of all those who are fighting to make cannabis swim in the sea of the absolute legality.

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